- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 2, 2022

President Biden said Wednesday he’s open to banning the import of Russian oil and natural gas to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for his attack on Ukraine.

“Nothing is off the table,” Mr. Biden said when asked about the subject while departing the White House for Wisconsin.

The economic sanctions Mr. Biden has proposed include carveouts for Russian oil, which has angered some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

About 8% of U.S. oil imports, roughly 672,000 barrels a day, came from Russia last year, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s analysis arm.

Administration officials have argued that the carveouts are critical because otherwise the sanctions will send the cost of gasoline in the U.S. soaring and inflict harm on Russian citizens, not the country’s elites with ties to the Kremlin.

The price of regular gasoline has already crossed the $4 a gallon threshold at pumps across the country and in some states is nearing $5 per gallon. 

SEE ALSO: U.S. reliance on Russian oil hits record high; Biden pressed to ease clampdown on U.S. energy

On Tuesday, a group of nine Senate Republicans and Sen. Ed Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, announced legislation that would make it illegal to import oil from Russia.

“First and foremost, President Biden needs to restart America’s energy production and quit financing Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine by continuing to purchase crude oil from Russia,” Sen. Roger Marshall, Kansas Republican, said in a statement.

Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, also called for the end of Russian imports to the U.S.

“If there was ever a time to be energy independent, it is now. I am calling on the administration and industry partners to take action immediately, up to and including banning crude oil imports from Russia,” Mr. Manchin said in a statement.

“To continue to ask other countries to do what we can do for ourselves in a cleaner way is hypocritical,” he said.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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